To add great flavor to foods, there’s more to consider than just salt. As part of National Nutrition Month, Renown dietitians offer some ideas how to reduce sodium as well as write your own culinary language with spice combinations.
Editor’s Note: Every week in March, BestMedicine will be featuring stories from the dietitians at Renown Health concerning ways to “Go Further With Food,” which is the theme of this year’s National Nutrition Month.
The health risks with sodium in food are well documented. What takes a little more digging is what to use instead of salt to bring out the flavor in the foods you love.
Reducing Sodium in Your Meals
Did you know that the average American consumes 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day? That’s a pretty dangerous number considering that the American Heart Association recommends limiting daily sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams in order to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. And the problem isn’t necessarily that you’re putting too much salt on your food, it’s that it’s already in the foods you’re eating, including bread products, many canned soups, pizza and cheese.
Spices: The Language of Food
One resource that dietitians at Renown Health use is “The Flavor Bible,” a book by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg that gives valuable tips for cooks at any level for adding more flavor to foods. In one chapter, “Communicating the Language of Food,” there are hundreds of food items that are listed with their flavor affinities.
Here are just a few examples:
- Bell peppers + garlic + olive oil + onion + thyme + zucchini
- Broccoli + garlic + lemon juice + olive oil
- Chicken + mushrooms + rosemary
- Chicken + garlic + lemon
- Eggplant + basil + bell peppers + garlic + tomatoes
- Eggs + mozzarella + mushrooms + thyme + onions
- Fish + fennel + lemon
- Mushroom + garlic + lemon + olive oil
- Mustard + chicken, fish, meats, potatoes
- Oregano + beef
- Rice: unsalted butter, saffron, parmesan cheese, dry red or white wine
- Potatoes: unsalted butter, bay leaf, parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley, pepper, onions, rosemary, thyme, sour cream, olive oil, mustard, sherry vinegar
- Steak + shallots + red wine
Looking for a recipe that’s low in sodium but big on flavor? Try our popular Spicy Oven-Fried Chicken!